Pirates 5, Marlins 0
The Marlins were limited to three runs and 12 hits during three straight losses to the Pirates to finish 1-8 on a three-city road trip to Colorado, San Francisco and Pittsburgh.
Florida had four hits in losing 4-3 Tuesday to Pat Mahomes and two relievers, three hits in a 4-0 loss to Kip Wells and two relievers Wednesday and five hits Thursday against Fogg and relievers Mike Lincoln and Julian Tavarez, who pitched the ninth.
“It’s the same thing the whole trip—you don’t get hits, you’re not going to score runs,” manager Jack McKeon said. “Their pitching staff must be pretty good over there. They dazzled us.”
Fogg (8-7), who had lost three of four, outpitched Dontrelle Willis (11-5).
Fogg was denied his first career complete game and shutout when he was lifted following singles by Lenny Harris and Juan Pierre in the eighth. Lincoln came on to pitch out of a bases-loaded jam by getting Juan Encarnacion to ground into a force play.
Fogg held the Marlins hitless until Pierre’s two-out single in the sixth, and Derrek Lee had a double in the seventh as the Marlins dropped their ninth in their last 10 road decisions.
“I looked up in the fifth and saw that (no-hitter), but I’d already hit two guys and it was one of those things where if it happens, OK,” Fogg said. “But I wasn’t concerned with it. I was concerned with putting up zeros and winning the game.”
Fogg had won just one of his last six starts, pitching into the seventh inning just once.
Despite the loss, Florida (70-63) is in a virtual four-way tie for the NL wild-card lead as Philadelphia (70-63) lost its third in a row at Montreal (71-64), which has gained three games on the Marlins and Phillies in three days. St. Louis (70-63) tied the Marlins and Phillies by beating the Cubs 3-2.
Remarkably, the Marlins lost no ground in the standings during the trip, but also missed an opportunity to distance themselves from the field.
“We don’t dwell on winning streaks … and we’re not going to dwell on a losing streak,” McKeon said. “This is the first time these guys have been in a race and they’re having a tough time right now. But there are better days ahead.”
The Pirates, winning their third straight after losing four in a row and nine of 13, did most of their damage against Willis, who lost his third straight decision and fourth in six decisions since the All-Star break.
Pittsburgh took a 3-0 lead in the fourth by making Willis throw 45 pitches— including seven consecutive foul balls by Wilson on a 3-2 count before his bases-loaded double scored three runs.
“I’m proud of myself for throwing him 13 straight strikes,” Willis said. “Hey, it was a great at-bat for him. I was going to make him beat me with my best pitch, every one was a fastball. I don’t want to walk the run in.”
Willis, whose agent said the pitcher is beginning to tire due to the incessant media and public relations demands on him, gave up seven hits and three runs in five innings. He has allowed 30 earned runs in his last 46 innings.
“Everybody is praising you when you’re up and kicking you when you’re down,” Willis said. “I’m always ready for it. My teammates know I’m going to give it everything I’ve got every time I pitch.”
The rookie left-hander was 9-1 with a 2.08 ERA as one of baseball’s major surprises at the break.
Jason Bay, acquired Tuesday from the Padres in the Brian Giles trade, started the Pittsburgh fourth with a double to left field—his third hit in two games with Pittsburgh. He moved to third on Fogg’s infield single with two out, and a walk to Jeff Reboulet loaded the bases before Wilson worked Willis for the double.
Wilson ran his career-best hitting streak to 15 games, 20-for-57 (.350). He also had a sacrifice fly in the eighth against reliever Ugueth Urbina. His onlyother four-RBI game was against Florida on Sept. 6, 2002.
The Pirates’ 37 home runs in August are their highest monthly total since hitting 38 in August 1999. … Florida is the only team in the majors without a grand slam this season. The last Marlins’ grand slam was hit by Lee on April 3, 2002, at Montreal. … Marlins C Ramon Castro was arrested and jailed on rape and other charges after a woman accused him of sexually assaulting her in his hotel room, officials said. … Fogg also had his first career stolen base, in the fourth, and the first by a Pirates pitcher since Chris Peters on Aug. 25, 1999. … The consecutive shutouts were the Pirates’first since July 12-13, 2001, against Kansas City.